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Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU)

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LAST UPDATED: March 19th, 2021
Digital Federal Credit Union, commonly known as DCU, was first chartered in 1979. The credit union is headquartered in Marlborough, Massachusetts, and serves over 500,000 members in all fifty states. Members are able to access several products designed to meet their financial needs, including insurance, real estate, securities, and credit cards.

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The Good

  • Cards designed for members with varying credit ratings
  • Lower initial APR than many competitors' credit cards
  • Works with mobile wallets
  • No annual fee or fee on balance transfers
  • DCU Visa Platinum Rewards Card

Cards Designed for Members with Varying Credit Ratings

DCU offers its members three choices of credit cards - the DCU Visa® Platinum Card, DCU Visa® Platinum Rewards Card, and DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Card. In this way, the credit union is able to offer cards to more members than many of its competitors, which only offer cards to those customers with higher credit scores.  

Lower Initial APR Than Many Competitors' Credit Cards

With many credit cards offered by competing financial institutions having initial interest rates for their cards around 18 percent, DCU's cards are very competitive with lower initial interest rates. DCU Visa® Platinum starts at an APR of 9 percent, DCU Visa® Platinum Rewards' APR starts at 11.75 percent, and DCU Visa® Platinum Secured offers an initial APR of 12 percent. It is important to remember that these rates are only initial starting rates, and interest rates will be computed by the credit union based upon the creditworthiness of the applicant.

Works with Mobile Wallets

As more people are looking for ways to leave their wallets at home and pay for purchases with their mobile devices, DCU has worked to make its cards compatible with the latest mobile wallet technology. These options are safe and secure, in addition to being convenient.

No Annual Fee or Fee on Balance Transfers

Each of the credit cards offered by DCU does not include an annual fee. Those holding other higher-rate cards may want to transfer balances to DCU's credit cards to save on the APR. The credit union does not charge a fee for balance transfers, making this option more attractive to its members. The lack of these fees can present as significant savings to DCU members.

DCU Visa® Platinum Rewards Card

Many people prefer to use a rewards card to make everyday purchases. The DCU Visa® Platinum Rewards Card rewards members with points on every purchase, redeemable for travel, gift cards, and merchandise, among other awards.

The Bad

  • Higher interest rate for DCU Visa Platinum Rewards Card
  • 18 percent interest rate hike as a late fee penalty
  • No free credit score or credit tracking
  • Undisclosed fraud protection measures

Higher Interest Rate for DCU Visa® Platinum Rewards Card

While many prefer earning rewards on their purchases, there is a trade-off for these rewards. DCU's initial APR for this card is slightly higher than that for its other cards. Consumers should carefully evaluate if they want to pay a higher interest rate for rewards, and if the earned rewards are worth the additional cost of a higher interest rate on purchases. Of course, if the card is used for everyday purchases and paid in full each month, as recommended by financial advisors, the higher interest rate is not particularly an issue.

18 Percent Interest Rate Hike as a Late Fee Penalty

When customers make a late payment, the consequence of so doing is an APR increase to 18 percent. This increase is removed after the customer maintains six months of on-time payments. It is important for consumers to understand how to return their interest rate to its previous levels.

No Free Credit Score or Credit Tracking

Many of the larger financial institutions, as a helpful perk to their cardholders, offer limited credit monitoring or a free credit score. While not a feature that would deter many from selecting DCU credit cards, it is an area that is lacking when compared to its competitors.

Undisclosed Fraud Protection Measures

In today's world of concerns of fraud and security, it unusual that a financial institution not disclose the measures that are used to protect cardholders' against fraudulent charges. This is not to imply that the credit union does not have protective measures in place, rather that customers must engage in in-depth searches in order to find out what these protections include.

The Bottom Line

Digital Federal Credit Union has an impressive customer base and nationwide coverage. The credit union has a proven and trusted history during its decades-old charter. Members have choices in credit cards offered by DCU that will likely meet the majority of their needs. The credit cards offered have lower initial APRs than most of its competitors, saving members immediately over other cards. Coupled with no annual fee for cards, these cards give customers ample reasons to consider DCU for their credit card provider. The negative aspect of these cards are outweighed by the benefits for most. Customers should practice wise financial management with all of their financial products, and DCU's credit cards are no different. Best Company recommends these cards for Digital Federal Credit Union members. While these products are probably not enough to induce a change from one bank to another, they are solid products.
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